Prius Personal Log  #590

October 11, 2012  -  October 13, 2012

Last Updated: Sat. 10/20/2012

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10-13-2012

Mile After Mile.  There's another commercial now promoting the Prius family.  It's very similar to the other, the same animated world with the regular Prius driving by interesting & relevant scenery.  Then, there's a clever camera angle change to reveal other models behind it.  It's a great way to continue to raise awareness about more than just a single Prius being available now.  You don't even need sound to understand what you're seeing.  It's quite obvious.  That does a great job of confirming Toyota's commitment to hybrids too.  Even if you know nothing at all about Prius history, seeing there are 4 to choose from compels you to investigate... which works out fantastic for those of us sharing real-world experiences online.  Also, the line "a Prius for everyone" hits competitors in a big way.  Volt's lack of diversity is becoming much more apparent now.  I was greeted with hostile responses prior to rollout, when I pointed out the one-size-fits-all approach would become a problem.  Back then, they didn't expect a Prius family or for Ford to deliver choices so soon.  We have automakers readying to deliver and Toyota already well positioned.  Viable options for middle-market is very exciting.

10-13-2012

Clueless Conclusions.  How does one deal with such screwed up facts: "The Prius Plug-In went on sale last fall and last spring was among the fastest-selling cars in the U.S.  In some months, it even outpaced Volt.  GM fought back with Volt leases..."  It didn't go on sale last fall.  That's just when pre-orders were submitted.  All you were doing was reserving one with your choice of options.  The commitment to actually purchase didn't occur until after the car was delivered to the dealer in the spring.  Some people chose not to.  For those that did, that sale was counted then... having nothing to do with last fall.  The concentration of pre-order deliveries gave a false impression of sudden demand.  Did the writer have any clue about what really happened?  You get the impression of strong growth, which wasn't the case.  Of course, reading about GM fighting back is misleading anyway.  With Volt approaching 2 years since rollout began and 1 year availability nationwide, how does that even compete with the plug-in Prius still being only available in 15 of the 48 states?  We appear to be back to the filler reports again... stuff written without research about high-efficiency vehicles just to stimulate the publication.  They draw whatever conclusion they want to keep readership active.  Historical accuracy doesn't matter.  Outcome doesn't either.  Sadly, even goals are absent.  It's a bit of a mess at the moment.  Ugh.

10-13-2012

Answer To Volt.  That particular misrepresentation really got me going in the past.  Of course, that was the purpose of antagonists.  They knew that wasn't actually the case, but it gave the impression of Volt being "vastly superior" without any actually data to prove it.  They'd claim Toyota was scrambling to deliver a plug-in to compete.  In return, I'd asked "Who is the market for Volt?"  We all knew one vehicle was intended for the masses and the other featured attributes appealing to a niche, but they'd refuse to acknowledge that.  When would it ever make sense to compare a vehicle with an engine triple the capacity of another?  Yet, that's exactly what they did.  The plug-in Prius being real-world tested at the time had a 5.2 kWh battery-pack, the Volt had 16 kWh.  (Now, it is just 4.4 kWh.)  No one in middle-market was asking for that kind of range or power.  Requests were for something offering much improved efficiency at an affordable price.  Toyota delivered a system way back in 2003 that was capable of 100 km/h (62.1 mph) using only electricity.  Problem was, the batteries of that time were very large, very heavy, low-capacity, and very expensive.  A plug simply wasn't realistic.  Lots of waiting was required for the battery technology to advance.  Those antagonists didn't want you to know that history, so they'd spin it to make the upcoming plug-in appear to be an after-thought retrofit rather than the plan-ahead it actually was.  Whether or not that effort to misrepresent will continue remains to be seen.  Hopefully, simply raising awareness about it will help prevent that.

10-13-2012

EV-BOOST.  The term itself was coined to identify the misrepresentation taking place... over and over again.  So many times, I'd read the implication that once you exceed the 62.1 mph (100 km/h) speed threshold the benefit of having plug-supplied electricity was lost.  Those with ill intent would vaguely state EV mode was no longer available at faster speeds, hoping readers would make the incorrect assumption that HV mode was the only alternative.  EV-BOOST is an automatic extension of EV mode, resulting in much more electricity being drawn from the battery-pack than would happen in HV mode.  This allows the engine to run at a much slower RPM, resulting in less gas being consumed.  I really enjoy seeing 100 MPG displayed on the screen while cruising along at 70 mph.  Who cares whether or not there is EV purity?  How long would you be able to maintain that electric-only drive anyway?  Why not take advantage of the gas engine sharing battery power?  Isn't the goal to get the technology out to the masses soon?

10-13-2012

Suburb Driving.  This is another one of those misrepresentations brought up countless times in the past that hopefully will finally just fizzle out.  No matter how much I posted my observations (from the early model PHV back in 2010) that a light foot on the pedal wasn't needed in suburb driving to prevent the engine from starting back up, certain individuals absolutely refused to accept it.  My hill climb out of the valley in EV was simply dismissed.  Heck, quite a few times the response them saying it was impossible to start up the plug-in within the engine running.  That was very frustrating, knowing they didn't care about actual facts.  Saying whatever they wanted to undermine Prius was their intent... because there was so little data available to contest their statements.  It's rapidly becoming easier to dispute.  The feeling is a transformation to vindication.  Phew!  I really enjoy errand-running on weekends using nothing but electricity.  The darting around town seemed like such a chore in the past.  The smooth & silent is a refreshing experience.  Of course, how fast the engine shuts off after having warmed up is nice too.  It stops freaky fast after a hard acceleration.

10-12-2012

43 MPG.  Looking at the very first photo of the battery-pack in C-Max Energi, you quickly realize the unique circumstance Prius is in.  Ford did what people envisioned a plug-in hybrid would be... a significant portion of the cargo area consumed by battery.  It appears to be just under half the height of the space below the cover shade.  So there's decent room still, but the loss of a flat floor-to-seat region for something like a bike is gone.  That's something Toyota didn't want to sacrifice.  Prius has everything squeezed underneath.  The C-Max storage tradeoff is greater battery-capacity, which equates to further EV travel and more power.  But it's not like Toyota won't offer that later anyway.  Diversity is the key.  And of course, the smaller pack in Prius means a lower price to pay and greater efficiency after depletion... which leads to the mention of 43 MPG.  We just discovered today that the plug-in model of C-Max gets that rather than the 47 MPG the regular hybrid does.  That's more of a difference than anyone expected.  How will those considering the plug-in model see that?  43 is still pretty good.

10-12-2012

No Gas.  What a bizarre experience.  A good friend and I were making a run out to the recycler with a refrigerator.  With his guzzler towing a trailer, seeing the price of gas at $3.58 per gallon was quite a compelling sight.  Why the heck was it so low?  It's $3.79 everywhere else.  We decided to take advantage of the opportunity.  As we were pulling up to a pump, I pointed out that particular one appeared to be out of service.  There was a plastic bag on the handle to indicate that.  Strangely, the next pump down had one as well.  Looking over to the next row, those did too.  What the heck?  Others appeared to be at pumps, but something didn't seem right.  We stopped.  Grabbed the pump.  Then there was an announcement over the loud-speaker... no gas.  Huh?  At that moment, a big tanker arrived.  Things started to make sense.  That must have been a clearing out of summer-formula gas.  The low price was to empty the station.  And it did!  We didn't bother waiting.  My gas was the winter-formula arrival would instantly bring a price increase.  What an odd event to witness, especially since he and I both own Prius.

10-12-2012

C & Classic.  As I was taking an afternoon stroll with my sweetheart to plug-in the Prius, I just happened to notice a very very exciting scene approaching.  There in one lane was a c model Prius.  Immediately next to it was a Classic model.  What a remarkable sight!  There was a decade difference between the two of them.  Side by side, they got closer.  We both watched as the two different yet rather similar Prius drove by.  It was quite a rare event, one which I can foresee never happening again.  After all, there weren't that many Classics in the first place.  To see it in formation with its own successor several generations later made it a moment to remember... and cherish.  You cannot get much better confirmation of success than something like that.  It was very exciting to experience, especially with someone special.

10-12-2012

Still More Data.  Today's observations were intriguing.  Starting out at 34°F outside, I thought it would closely resemble the first day's data collecting.  Instead, the coolant temperature was a little cooler and the engine wasn't needed anymore once reaching the slowdown point.  I drove along the 70 mph stretch with commute traffic, noting 163°F at the usual the 9.5-mile mark where it changes to 55 mph.  Then the system automatically switched to EV from EV-BOOST, remaining like that all the way until I parked.  There was enough electricity available to complete the journey without gas.  That was unexpected.  What a nice surprise.  At that point (16.7 miles total), the coolant temperature had dropped to 107°F.  That means if I would have desired warmth from the heater, the engine would have started specifically for that purpose, since the threshold is 114°F.  Fortunately if it does run, some EV distance is replenished too.  That's a nice side-benefit from the warming process.  Anywho, the outcome was quite pleasing.  The overall average was 192 MPG.  Now, I'm more curious than ever about the effect grille-blocking will have.

10-12-2012

More Data.  Here's yesterday's observations, without the grille blocked yet:  It was 43°F outside.  Traffic on the 70 mph stretch was pretty routine, except for the big trunk merging out at the 9-mile mark.  That caused me to slow down a half-mile sooner, to 60 mph... which caused the engine to shut off. At that point, the coolant had warmed up to 175°F.  I almost made it the 16-mile mark (specifically to 15.9) entirely in EV mode before running out of electricity.  The coolant temperature had cooled down to 118°F by then.  A few minutes later, arriving at my destination with coolant warmed back up to the point where the engine shut back off.  The act of running brought the temperature up to 132°F and topped off the battery-pack enough to allow electric-only driving in HV mode.  And I did, to the ramp and up to my usual parking spot without the engine.  There, the display said I had traveled a total of 16.7 miles and had an overall average of 163 MPG.

10-11-2012

C-Max Spin.  It only took a matter of hours.  Rather than allow attention to focus on Volt, there's a clear effort to keep the spotlight on Prius instead... by demeaning it.  That figures.  Ironically, that's a great way to get people to abandon GM hope.  A good old fashion rivalry between Ford & Toyota will be great.  That will benefit both... leaving the Volt enthusiasts without an audience.  Anywho, this was the first attempt that emerged: "The c-max hybrid and plug-in versions are better versions of the Prius.  I've heard that you can reasonably drive the c-max in all electric mode (unlike the Prius where if you sneeze the gas motor comes on)."  I found that rather amusing, since it's so easy to disprove.  This is how I responded:  How much longer can that misrepresentation of Prius continue?  Currently, claiming the engine starts from anything but the lightest pedal touch is easy... since many people still assume behavior based on old reports.  My guess is within 3 months of nationwide rollout that will end.  The bigger battery-pack offers more electricity to draw.  That translates directly to more propulsion power.  A simple test-drive experience reveals a Prius that easily handles suburb driving without gas; however, that isn't the point of a plug-in hybrid.  The point is to deliver a significant emission & consumption reduction.  The message of "all electric" is promotional angle, not a goal.  And when the engine does run, you still get over 100 MPG while electricity is available.  What's wrong with that?

10-11-2012

100 MPGe Combined.  That's the big news today.  It's the official rating C-Max Energi just earned.  (108 city and 92 highway are the other MPGe values.)  This upcoming plug-in hybrid from Ford has a higher combined value than Volt, which gets 98 MPGe.  So, you can imagine the stir online by tomorrow.  Prius PHV delivers 95 MPGe.  A smaller battery-pack (4.4 kWh compared to 7.5 kWh) made the outcome quite predictable.  In fact, that's why Toyota & Ford are thought of more as allies rather than true competitors of each other.  They share the goal of wanting to produce an affordable plug-in for the the masses, soon.  That's quite different from Volt, which has transformed into a long-term venture instead.  Replacing traditional vehicles starts with delivering something realistic for high-volume sales right away.  This is what we are seeing emerge now.  The timing is great.  The rating is great.  The excitement is building.

10-11-2012

6 Miles.  My most recent example of intention misrepresentation of the plug-in Prius was to spin the EPA sticker mention of "6 miles" as the only capacity available for EV.  The troublemaker totally disregards detail of the measurement itself, pretending the reality of the engine shutting off after that high-demand moment at the 6-mile mark doesn't happen.  They want you to believe the entire plug-in capacity is already depleted then and absolutely refuse to acknowledge you've actually got more than half remaining still.  My personal highest is 17.5 miles.  The other day, I got 16.1 miles.  Neither was an effort to milk EV distance either.  It just worked out that way.  Most of the time it's close to 13 miles... which clearly higher than 6.  In the past, I found those efforts to undermine frustrating.  Now, the feeling has transformed to vindication.  Such an obvious attempt to mislead confirms the real-world results Prius PHV delivers are better than they had hoped.

10-11-2012

Discredit Efforts.  They continue.  That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone anymore.  In fact, spin has become an expectation.  At this point, we've basically heard it all too.  You say something, they change it.  They say something, they change it.  Sticking to facts just plain doesn't happen; acknowledging goals doesn't either.  Strangely, that's kind of a good thing.  It confirms progress is being made.  Rather than speculation as in the past, we now know.  The denial of certain individuals makes it rather obvious:  "Every owner I know doesn't get the EPA in their Prius - or "massages" the data like John."  Statements like that will be amusing to read back again later, as a reminder once that person finally moves on.  The antagonists do eventually give up.  But they hold on until evidence contradicting them becomes overwhelming.  Here's what I contributed:  I set the cruise-control on my trip up north last week.  In HV mode to preserve the EV for later and with 2 bikes on back, the 168-mile drive resulted in an average of 48 MPG.  Despite that aerodynamic compromise and letting the car manage speed, I still came within 1 MPG of the EPA.  The entire trip, driving up there without the bikes, then the return home came to a total of 701 miles.  That distance had 2 recharges, using 6.2 kWh total, including charging losses.  The displayed gas consumption was 10.24 gallons.  That works out to an overall of 68.5 MPG.  The real-world data speaks for itself.  Attempts to spin & discredit won't undermine that.

 

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